Fantastic Fest 2010: Troll Hunter review
As an Icelander I grew up with stories of ogres and trolls in my youth, stories told so I would behave. For instance if I didn't go to sleep early a giant troll would reach in my window and eat me. How's that for proper upbringing.
Most of our troll legends were brought over with Norwegian settlers during the viking age and then evolved to our own local legends. So it's safe to say that the Norwegians have plenty of stories to go around. I don't know if there have been attempts in the past to put these on the screen but if so I'm pretty sure that nobody has tried it in the scale that the makers of Trollhunters have done.
Following the same formula as The Blair Witch Project, the film is made up of found footage from a group of collage students who accidentally stumble upon a government conspiracy about trolls in modern Norway, when they are doing a school project about bear poaching.
Following the only troll hunter in the country the youths find out that the old stories about trolls are very much true and that the government keeps it under wraps with a special agency that handles those matters quietly and usually blames it on bears.
While the subject matter is rather silly it's played with a straight face and the cast and crew manage to create a wonderfully entertaining mocumentary featuring a crap load of trolls of all shapes and sizes, basing them on known variations of these creatures.
While the subject matter could be used to make a successful horror feature the filmmakers opted to make a much more light hearted tale but also manage to shoot in some genuine tension when needed.
Since information about the cast is nowhere to be found on IMDB I have no idea if these actors are new to the scene or known names in their native country, I'm guessing they are fresh new faces to keep the story more real but they all do a good job with their roles and none of them are clichéd characters that you are supposed to either hate or love.
The film stands or falls by it's technical quality and fortunately these guys have done a good job with rendering these towering creatures. The animation is sometimes obvious but it's never distracting enough to ruin the experience. The designs is based directly on the legends so they might look a bit cartoony to some with their exaggerated features.
I think this is the first giant monster movie to come out of Scandinavia since Reptilicus wrecked havoc in Copenhagen in the 60's so I really hope this films does good business because I would love to see more of this type of stuff coming out of this region.
[The Troll Hunter was presented as a work in progress as a secret screening at Fantastic Fest 2010.]